By: Jason Paluzzi, MS4

Having recently completed my third year of medical school, it’s time to have a look back at the medical apps that helped me the most during my clerkships.  From having an easy to use database of medical information to adding something extra to your presentations and plans, some apps are able to streamline the learning process or make for a more efficient medical student.

Although the following screen shots of the applications are on an Android device, all of these apps are available in some form or another on the iOS platform as well, and most of them are completely free.

*Disclaimer* Please use your smartphone with discretion during your clerkships.  It is rarely, if ever, appropriate for a student to be using a smartphone during rounds or in the OR.

Family Medicine:

AHRQ ePSS by US Department fof Health and Human Services
This little jumble of letters stands for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Electronic Preventive Services Selector.  This free app consists of a brief, one page patient data form where you enter your patient’s age, gender, and a few risk factors.

It cross-checks this information against the USPSTF Preventive Services Database to bring you a list of screening exams, prophylactic treatments, and counseling appropriate to your patient, separated by the grade of the recommendation.  Selecting a recommendation lets you view the rationale behind the recommendation given.

This app is useful for any patient that you’re waiting to present to an attending.  Simply type in their information and you have a wealth of information to add to your patient plan that is highly pertinent to a primary care setting.  Keeping your patient’s long term health in mind in addition to their current problems will yeild an appreciation of more comprehensive care during your primary care experience.

AHRQ App Website


3D Brain by Dolan DNA Learning Center

Having already reviewed this app for the iPhone platform here, this helpful learning aid has recently been made available for the android platform.  Not only is it an extremely useful tool for reviewing basic neuroanatomy, it also teaches about pathology associated with damage to each region of the brain, which can come in handy on a stroke service.


What’s more, the visual presentation of the brain can double as a teaching utility for patients to better understand the brain as it relates to their current condition.

Google Android Market
iTunes App Store

Internal Medicine:

Medscape by WebMD

We’ve reviewed this terrific free app in the past, which you can read here.  Needless to say, during your first exposure during internal medicine you may come across drugs, diseases, or procedures that you don’t understand as well as you’d like.  This app has just about everything you would need to gain pertinent knowledge about your patients when you may not have time to use a more comprehensive traditional resource.

It was no accident that Medscape was chosen as the number one free iPhone medical app.  This one will be helpful on virtually any rotation, and isn’t going to leave my phone any time soon.

Medscape for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android


Surgical Recall by Skyscape

You’ll notice this is the only paid app I’ve included on this list, and with good reason.  This is an app-based version of the popular Surgical Recall text.  We’ve reviewed Medicine Recall in the past, and you’ll notice the same format here; a series of question-and-answer based factoids sorted by surgical case.

And since Skyscape has already sorted the questions by case, you have the ability to look up the cases on the surgery board for the day and read ahead.  On my general surgery service, virtually every question I was asked about a surgery or disease came from Surgical Recall (unfortunately, it is not as comprehensive for specialty services).  It is available for $46.95; slightly more than the book, but more portable as well.


Ob (Pregnancy) Wheel by Quartertone

This easy to use app is great for keeping a patient’s pregnancy dating in order, both in the outpatient and inpatient settings.  Simply enter the date of the first day of the last menstrual period, and in return the app gives you the estimated date of conception, weeks gestational age, and estimated due date, in addition to leaving space to enter ultrasound information and other notes.

This profile of dates can then be stored to create a small database of dating for each patient you’re following (remember, using specific patient identifying data should be avoided).

There are upgradeable versions of the app that can display even more information for under $3.00, but these are probably superfluous for all but those interested in pursuing a career in Ob-Gyn.

Link: Android MarketPlace


There you have it — 5 key applications for your main clerkship rotations that can make you look like an all-star on the wards.